Women Who Inspire Us - Toni Milne, Vela Co-Founder

As part of International Women's Week, we wanted to celebrate by recognising the strong female figures in our creative community. 

We feature three incredible women who we asked to tell their stories. Each who play a very special role in our Vela community, doing things their way and inspiring us with their own trailblazing style. 

Co-founder of our beautiful brand, Toni Milne is a force to be reckoned with. A woman responsible for two thriving businesses, two young daughters, and a life well travelled. Toni inspires a vision of humility and elegance. 

Tell us a bit about your background prior to launching Vela Jewellery?

I have worked in a diverse range of industries predominantly in Communications – retail, fashion and the arts. We moved to Italy in 2004 and I worked for the United Nations World Food Programme which was a role I loved. When we returned to Perth I secured a Marketing role with Deloitte. I now run Rohan Jewellers with my husband, Rohan and more recently, Vela Jewellery with our business partner, Simon Henderson. The diversification of my experience is something that used to frustrate me as I felt I never found my niche in one industry. I now realise, it has prepared me for the many hats you need to wear daily when running your own business.
Did you have the vision for the brand for long? What was the inspiration?

Vela was an idea for a number of years before it became a reality. We always knew there was a place in the market for a range of jewellery designed with purpose, using high quality raw materials at an accessible price point. It is a joy to see the brand alive and the jewellery being enjoyed and loved by women of all ages.

Where do you draw your daily inspiration?

I think inspiration flows when you have a strong vision and clear purpose. A sense of humour and a great team also helps.

What are you most proud of doing?

Creating a brand and products that we are proud of. It is so satisfying to see our jewellery out and about being worn, loved and gifted. Jewellery holds a lot of emotion for people as it is often linked to special milestones and loved ones. I often think how lucky we are to play a role in these moments.

Which powerful woman do you admire the most?

There are so many. The two who come to mind first are Jacinda Ardern for showing the world that a leader can be powerful and compassionate and Laura Brown, Editor In Chief of Instyle Magazine for her commitment to telling diverse female stories and her wonderfully, wicked sense of humour.

Vela jewellery ensures all materials – Argyle Champagne diamonds and Australian South Sea pearls – are sustainably farmed and ethically sourced, how important is this to you?

It's imperative and the only way forward in the sustainability conversation. I always go back to the classic Vivienne Westwood quote ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’. It frustrates me when I see the market flooded with cheap, fast fashion - in clothing and jewellery - that is destined to become land fill.
Favourite style icon?

Grace Kelly – simple and timeless, and for something more modern Olivia Palermo or Alexa Chung.

Best piece of advice you have been given – in your business or personal life?

The one I am drawing on at the moment is where you put your focus, is what you create in your life.

How do you express your style?

My style is quite minimalistic. I express it through classic, tailored clothing. Of course, this is paired with my everyday favourite jewellery pieces. I am loving the Filo Luce earrings and Penta Luce Necklace – a little bit of everyday luxury.

What are you currently:
Coveting: more time to travel
Preparing: For the next range of Vela Jewellery
Watching: Schitts Creek – I am quite late to discover this – it is light but so entertaining and the characters are brilliant.
Listening: Thelma Plum
Reading: I’m reading two books at the moment - She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey and Tim Winton’s incredible Cloud Street (again) after seeing it on stage a few weeks ago.
Dreaming: for some form of global cohesion to tackle the overwhelming state of the world.
Giving: Time to those closest to me.


In celebration of International Women's Day, we're offering our subscribers $50 off any purchases made on Sunday March 8th. Use code INSPIRE50 to redeem your gift from us at checkout.